Paul on Liberal Burblings has drawn my attention to a letter written by Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the members of the Californian State Assembly refusing to sign an assembly bill. The thing is there is an interesting message if you just read the first letters of the two paragraphs in the letter. They are in order F, u, c, k, Y, o and u. Is Mr Schwarzenegger a fan of acrostics I wonder.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
A rather crude calculation by Gary Langer from ABC news puts the odds of this happening by chance at one in 10 billion although he is assuming uniform distribution of letters throughout the language and is simply using (1/26)^7 which of course is a bit simplistic (and is actually around one in 8 billion - he's rounding up by 2 billion).
A slightly more sophisticated way of doing this would be to weight the letters using letter frequency within English. According to this Wikipedia article, the letter frequencies are: f = 2.228%, u = 2.758%, c = 2.782%, k = 0.772%, y = 1.974%, o = 7.507%.
So I calculate the odds as 0.02228 x 0.02758 x 0.02782 x 0.00772 x 0.01974 x 0.07507 x 0.02578 = 0.00000000000504173890853168
Or to put it another way odds of one in 198,344,265,370 (nearly 200 billion).
This, to put it mildly seems vanishingly unlikely...
Here's the original letter:
Ammiano Veto Message